Oncology is “a branch of medicine that deals with cancer. A medical professional who practices this is an oncologist”. Oncology is concerned with the diagnosis of any type of cancer, therapies like surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy, improvements or updates in cases of successfully treatment and palliative care of patients with terminal malignancies.
It is imperative that more clinical researches be conducted in Oncology. It is a fact that cancer is a widespread disease that can affect anyone of any age. The National Cancer Institute has cancer incidence and mortality statistics reported by the American Cancer Society and from some other resources. An estimated annual cancer incidence for this year alone (2013) is 40,000 cases or more. More than half of the cases in the United States is prostate cancer, one of the common cancers known to everyone.
When it comes to research and business resources, the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has a program called Oncology Research Program (ORP) which has shown its success in uniting pharmacists, clinicians and leading academic scientists to combine forces with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. The aim of the program is to improve and develop new and effective treatments for cancer. Their focus in terms of services is to support companies with drug development plans and strategies as well as facilitate the progress of preclinical, translational and clinical research at NCCN Member Institutions. Results of research projects are promulgated just like what NCCN’s tag line is “Your Best Resource in the Fight Against Cancer.”
In line with an Oncology Clinical Research, different types of cancer clinical trials have been itemized by the National Cancer Institute. Because these trials differ according to their primary purpose, they are enumerated as follows:
- Treatment. This focuses on testing the success or efficacy of recent treatments or innovations using current treatments that would help cancer patients. The treatments are comprised of new drugs or recent combinations of currently used drugs. Treatments may also include vaccines, new surgery or radiation therapy techniques. They can also be other treatments that invigorates a cancer patient’s immune system to fight this disease.
- Prevention. To lower the risk of increasing certain types of cancer, trials are needed to test new interventions. These trials mostly involve healthy people who aren’t cancer patients and have never been cancer patients before but have a feasibility to have a higher than average risk of having a specific type of cancer. For cancer patients, interventions that may help avoid the recurrence of cancer need to be tested or lessen the likelihood of developing a new type of cancer.
- Screening. To prevent a person from developing cancer, clinical trials test new ways of detecting a cancer early. It aims to easily treat cancer in its early stage so that there is a higher possibility of surviving the disease for a longer period of time. Screening trials normally involve people with no signs or symptoms of cancer although it is often limited to people with a higher than average risk of having a particular type of cancer due to either an exposure to substances that cause cancer or family history.
- Diagnostic. Diagnostic trials examine new tests or processes that may recognize or diagnose cancer more accurately. People involved in these trials are those who have symptoms of cancer.
- Quality of life. This type of clinical trial deals with the comfort and quality of life of patients as well as of cancer survivors. Trials are conducted to minimize the number of seriousness of cancer side effects or treatment. How cancer changes or affects a patient’s everyday life may also be researched.